*Two Traditional Chinese Melodies* in attractive arrangements.
1. The East is Red
2. Liuyang River
_Score 5 pp. Parts 2 pp._
OMP118 Lance Eccles, The East is Red and Liuyang River (Two Traditional Chinese Melodies)
OMP095 Lance Eccles, Four Korean Folksongs
OMP140 Lance Eccles, Four Revolutionary Songs from Northwest China
These collections were arranged by Lance Eccles, an Australian university lecturer in Chinese who also plays the recorder. The two Chinese collections (The East is Red and Liuyang River and Four Revolutionary Songs from Northwest China) comprise songs widely sung during the Cultural Revolution.
"The East is Red" was the most popular patriotic song during that time, with "Three Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention" in the Four Revolutionary Songs a close second. Although these two songs, plus "Army and People Together" sound martial, others - such as "Red Bloom the Mountain Lilies" and "Embroidering Words of Gold" - are much more lyrical and flowing.
To create his arrangements, Eccles has taken these pentatonic Chinese tunes and arranged them with Western harmonies, a practice common in China itself starting in the 20th century.
Because the songs are short, he has used several devices to create longer pieces. Examples of these devices are: putting the melody in a different part, creating more complex harmony parts on repeats of the melody, introducing more rhythmic complexity, changing the texture by dropping a part for one repeat of the tune, creating canons, and temporarily changing the mode. With these techniques, he successfully maintains interest through multiple variations.
He uses the same techniques to arrange the tines in Four Korean Folksongs, which includes "Arirang", the most famous of all Korean folk songs.
The Kalamazoo Recorder Players found the arrangements in all three collections interesting, tuneful and worth playing. Although the publisher designated these arrangements as "moderate" in difficulty, there are rhythmic and high-range issues with some of the pieces. Eccles' website lists the Four Korean Folksongs as being for the more advanced intermediate consort, which seems an apt description for the other two collections as well.
Judy Whaley and the Kalamazoo Recorder Players, American Recorder, September 2006